Breathing Space Florida aspires to convey that:
“Words have power. ‘Convicted’, ‘ex-con,’ ‘offender,’ ‘prisoner,’ ‘predator,’ and ‘murderer’ are all words that shape the thought patterns of men and women who are beginning the re-entry journey after completing their time in prison. Defining ourselves as returning citizens embodies our thoughts and feelings on the matter of being a branded person, devoid of the right to true redemption. Many of us recognize that our prisons sentence never ends, as long as the discrimination against us continues. We believe in Transforming Power and are building our Breathing Space community on honesty, respect and caring.”
How Breathing Space Florida Began
Breathing Space New York is run by Ray Rios, John Mandala met him in prison. When he got out, Ray bought 35 acres and came up with breathing space as a name, because “Everyone Needs Breathing Space”. The program helps the homeless, veterans and ex-prisoners who are reintegrating into society. It is extremely difficult to do and they need as much support as they can find.
Breathing Space, New York, is on 35 acres in the Catskill Mountains. Ray has been quoted as saying “People are our most renewable resource” and he wanted to give them an opportunity to be a part of their community. This program inspired John Mandala for many reasons, so he decided to bring Breathing Space to Florida. He enjoyed the idea of helping these people find a purpose and set their minds to new tasks, he wanted to help people like him and others around him enjoy a more peaceful experience in their lives, including the very important experience of enjoying the natural world.
He is currently looking for property and is considering acreage in Dade City, Fl.